National Park Stories We'd Like To See In 2011

Here's a look at some headlines involving the National Park System that we'd like to see in the coming year.

Yellowstone National Park Solves Winter-Use Conundrum; Snowmobilers And Conservationists Happy

After more than a decade of studies and lawsuits and millions of dollars that could have been better spent on other park needs, Yellowstone officials announced an agreement to end the winter-use dispute pitting snowmobilers against conservationists. Emission-free, whisper-quiet snowmobiles powered by electric motors will be allowed to navigate the park's Grand Loop, which will be rimmed with sensors capable of switching off the engine of any snowmobile straying from the groomed trail.

Months Of Behind-the-Scenes Meetings Lead to Satisfactory Resolution of Cape Hatteras National Seashore ORV Use

In a surprise development, officials for the seashore, off-road vehicle groups, and conservationists announced a shuttle system that would provide 24-hour-a-day access to prime fishing spots.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett Pool Resources to Wipe Out National Park System's Staggering $9 Billion Maintenance Backlog

Billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates delivered a $10 billion check to the National Park Service. Nine billion dollars were earmarked to offset the agency's staggering maintenance backlog and the other $1 billion will be used to establish an endowment fund for future maintenance needs.

Corporate America Ponies Up for National Parks Without Quid Pro Quo

In an announcement that drew widespread applause, Coca-Cola, Ford, Toyota, and other corporate kings of America said they no longer would seek any in-park acknowledgment in return for their donations to the national parks. "America's parks are monuments to natural beauty and conservation, and should be recognized and appreciated for that and that alone," they said in a joint statement. "While we will continue to invest in the betterment of these special places, a goal that is in our collective best interests, we do not want to detract from them with commercialism."

In a related-development, Congress passed legislation to create a $100 billion endowment fund to ensure the National Park Service would be fully funded in time for its centennial in 2016.

Visitation Studies Show Youth Flocking to National Parks

After years of declines, the number of national park visitors aged 18 to 35 showed a marked increase in 2011. While Baby Boomers continues to dominate national park visitation, accounting for 48 percent of all visitors, a new study reveals that the 18-35 bracket share is now nearly as large (45 percent).

Lack of Diversity No Longer an Issue in National Park System

African-Americans, Hispanics, and newly arrived immigrants flocked to the national parks in 2011, relishing the beauty of the natural resources and gaining appreciation for the cultural and historic significance reflected across the park system.

Conservation Easements Provide Much-Needed Habitat for Florida Panthers

A landmark agreement worked out between federal, state, and local officials, and private landowners, opened up hundreds of thousands of acres of prime Florida panther habitat ringing Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve. Biologists believe that the new conservation easements will enable the critically endangered panthers to expand their territories and increase their genetic diversity.

Temperature-Resistant Corals Bring an End to Coral Bleaching Episodes

Genetic adaptations have enabled coral reefs throughout the world to develop resistance to bleaching events triggered by warming oceans, said a scientific report issued today. Fisheries that rely on reefs in Virgin Islands, Biscayne, and Dry Tortugas national parks are expected to rebound as the nutrient- and habitat-rich reefs regain their health, the study said.

NRA Urges Congress to Ban Firearms from National Park System

In an astonishing turn-of-events, the National Rifle Association urged Congress to reverse regulations pertaining to firearms in national parks. The politically powerful organization admitted its error in strong-arming politicians to allow for park visitors to arm themselves, saying no child or parent should have to fall asleep in a campground worrying that there might be a firearm in the neighboring tent.

Entrance Fees to National Parks Abolished

Saying that ability to pay should not be an admission criterion for America's national park, National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis today abolished all entrance fees currently being charged across the National Park System. "Americans should not have to pay to see the beautiful settings, wild animals, and rich cultural and historic treasures of their national parks," Director Jarvis said.

Comments

Wouldn't it be nice...

Will we ever be so fortunate? Will political discourse ever turn in such a way as to even permit an intelligent, progressive discussion of such long-delayed but urgently necessary moves?

Another headline I'd like to see in 2011

Congress finally pays the full $52 million to Swain County, closing out the North Shore Road issue in the
Great Smoky Mountains National Park forever.

Swain County has received about $13 million and the remaining $39 million is a pimple on the huge federal budget. This settlement will finally close out the longest open issue in Congress, since 1943.

Danny Bernstein
www.hikertohiker.com

"Yellowstone National Park Solves Winter-Use Conundrum; Snowmobilers And Conservationists Happy"

Ten years later millions of Batteries are found illegally dumped poisoning the entire eco system.

"Months Of Behind-the-Scenes Meetings Lead to Satisfactory Resolution of Cape Hatteras National Seashore ORV Use

In a surprise development, officials for the seashore, off-road vehicle groups, and conservationists announced a shuttle system that would provide 24-hour-a-day access to prime fishing spots. "

Breaking news 1...
Man has heart attack on beach in Cape Hatteras and family sues park system because if his family had a way off the beach he would have survived instead of waiting at the bus stop for transportation. They now own the park and it is open to all.

"Billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates delivered a $10 billion check to the National Park Service. Nine billion dollars were earmarked to offset the agency's staggering maintenance backlog and the other $1 billion will be used to establish an endowment fund for future maintenance needs."

Better make it 20 billion as the Enviro lawyers will sue for there part.